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HEALTH CONCERN? BioHealth Health Concerns

Advice for Weight Gain

Contributing Author: Rubin, Josh O.T.

Josh RubinJoshua Rubin graduated from American International College with a B.S. in Occupational Therapy. After working with the geriatric population for many years, he decided to take his career to the next level. By incorporating corrective exercise, nutrition and lifestyle coaching with his rehabilitation background, he began working with individuals of all ages within the personal training industry. This is where he found his love for holistic coaching, and as a result of developing San Diego’s EastWest Healing & Performance in 2002, he is one of Southern California’s top Personal Trainer, Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach, and Rehabilitation Specialist.

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I've got a client who wishes to gain weight and bulk up. He has a high heart rate and suffers from tremors in his right arm and hand. His diet consists of nourishments, drinks, and protein weight gain drinks, alongside a normal healthy diet. I suggested that he should have his thyroid gland checked out. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.

You could make many recommendations, or even do many things with your client, but some may be out of your scope of practice. Here are my recommendations, in no particular order:

  1. The foundation of life is food, good quality food. Without it, the body will not function or heal properly, and dysfunctions will arise. As Paul Chek says, “you are what you eat!” My first recommendation would be to either educate your client about food quality or refer him to a holistic nutritionist, CHEK NLC practitioner, or someone else in the field who can accomplish this.

    Most protein shakes and so-called health drinks consist primarily of sugar, and are filled with synthetic vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that greatly stress the body. This has a dramatic impact on the gut, causing inflammation and creating an insulin and cortisol spike then crash. The pancreas and adrenal glands take the body for a roller coaster ride each day. If your client is experiencing highs and lows, fatigue, or GI discomfort, these protein drinks are the cause. There is a lot more to this, but to make a long story short, I recommend:

    • eating organic foods
    • staying away from sugars, flour, table salt, gluten-containing grains, and pasteurized milk
    • if he can’t pronounce an ingredient, don’t eat it
    • if he wants to eat something and it has a shelf life, don’t eat it
    • if it was not here 10,000 yrs ago, don’t eat it
    • drink half his body weight in ounces of water per day
    • stay away from microwave ovens

    Trying to put more energy into the body’s bank account takes life and energy. Nonfoods, such as protein drinks, bars, and boxed foods, take more energy away than they give. It takes life to give life!

  1. When trying to gain weight, the most important points to remember in regards to exercise are the variables in the program design. You want to make sure you take your client through the stability, strength, and power paradigm to facilitate his success. I don’t know much about your client, but generally, most strength and weight gaining programs have intensities of 75%+, reps between 8–12, and faster tempos (maybe a 101, etc). A great way to learn more about this is by reading any book by Charles Poliquin.
  2. Any time that the body is under stress and releases catabolic hormones such as insulin and cortisol, it will break down. Make sure that your client gets enough rest on his off days, does not overtraining when working out, gets enough sleep to repair and regenerate, and works on adapting stress relief principles into his day to reduce the overall amount of stress in his life.
  3. In regards to lab tests, there are a lot of functional medicine practitioners that your client may use. Most require that payment be made out of pocket, but the results are impeccable. If your client does not want to pay out of pocket, I recommend getting a gut test and/or adrenal stress test. These will tell you exactly what is going on, so that proper treatment may be designed. I recommend an adrenal test and not a thyroid test because research done by Lee, Simpson, and Peate suggests that any time the adrenals are under stress, the body’s master regulator of metabolism (the thyroid) will slow down to protect the body. This is not always the case, but the majority of the time, most people have thyroid issues as the byproduct of an adrenal issue, an estrogen dominance issue, and so forth. I have further recommendations for lab tests in the future if your client does not see results from the above suggestions.
  4. Supplement recommendations: adrenal support, high quality fish oils, balanced organic meals throughout the day, and DHEA and pregnenolone only if he is tested and his levels indicate that he needs them.

Good luck!

Joshua Rubin